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Q. Dear Umbra,
Recently I’ve been growing more concerned about the rainforest deforestation associated with the palm oil in trans-fat-free margarines. Are there any trans-fat-free and rainforest-deforestation-free butter substitute options for when I’m accommodating my vegan friends (and that I could suggest they use instead)?
Bar Harbor, Maine
A. Dearest Paul,
Your question is quite pertinent this week, when our besotted peers are loading up on 58 million pounds of chocolate for their sweeties, much of it packed with palm oil. (Look, here is one guide [PDF] to candy with and without this controversial substance.)
You are accommodating indeed, to be giving so much thought to the edible-spread needs of your vegan friends. Your query leads us down a greasy hillside of deforestation, pollution, human-rights infringements, hydrogenation, and marketing shtick. As a side bonus, however, we get a shamelessly cute video of baby orangutans, and a few promising recipes for homemade vegan “butter.” Yum.